UNITED STATES─In this era of the Coronavirus endemic, it can be reassuring to know that we Americans have faced similar challenges throughout our history. Men once stood in soup kitchen lines during the Great Depression, and yet shared their food with those who were hungrier. We endured shortages and harsh lifestyle changes during World War II, yet women grew Victory Gardens to share with their neighbors. We saw drastic changes to our everyday lives after 9-11, donating vast amounts of money to the families of those who perished, and adjusting to increased screenings with patience and good humor.
In each of these challenges, we saw courtesy, fortitude and a working-together mentality that got us through and beyond what we thought at the time was insurmountable. We will do it again.
In the annals of history, Americans have been fortunate to have led a privileged life, especially compared with the extreme poverty and harsh regimes experienced by many around the world. But we nevertheless are not soft in grit and determination when we are tested in difficult times. It’s not always apparent how resilient we can be, but when we are faced with an adversity, we always manage to collectively rise to the occasion.
Like now, as our world is closing in on us, we understand the alarming reasons for being shut out of arenas, theaters, restaurants, theme parks and much more. And although we undoubtedly feel a serious sense of unease as we try to comprehend the wave of illness about to descend upon us, our reactions are not hysteria. Once again, we likely see a greater effort by those around us who want to calm others, almost as a way of calming themselves.
There is one big difference to this national emergency compared to others in the past. We are simply asked or encouraged or ordered to stay away from crowds; besides carefully and frequently washing our hands, that’s about it.
President Kennedy asked not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country. This recent on-line post offers both levity and common sense to his declaration: Your grandparents were called to go to war. You are called to sit on your couch. You can do this.